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Hodson stepped up for Sea Kings

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Junior outside hitter, currently in Mexico competing for Team USA, has been a valuable leader for CdM.

October 04, 2013|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar High's Hayley Hodson is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.
Corona del Mar High's Hayley Hodson is the Daily… (Don Leach, Daily…)

The key chain isn't really gaudy. It simply says "Team USA," but Corona del Mar High junior Hayley Hodson smiles when it's brought up.

Those two words encompass many of Hodson's hopes and dreams. They are most likely part of her past, present and future.

In this way, the key chain is more than just an inanimate object for Hodson, who is one of the best high school outside hitters in the country.

"I think I got it at the Olympic training center," she said. "I think I also have a 'London 2012' one sitting around at home. We're kind of Olympic nerds in my family."

Though she was just 5 years old at the time, Hodson went with her family to the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2001. They went to last year's London Olympics as well. Hodson said her mother Sonya, who was a sports television producer, worked the Sarajevo Winter Olympics and Los Angeles Summer Olympics, both in 1984.

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Hayley Hodson again smiles.

"Hopefully we get to go to a few more," she said.

Don't be surprised if the next time Hodson heads to the Olympics, it's as an athlete, not just a spectator. She brings that type of talent to the table for the CdM (8-2) girls' volleyball team, ranked No. 4 in CIF Southern Section Division 1-AA.

Hodson had a match-high 25 kills as CdM outlasted Newport Harbor in five sets in the Battle of the Bay match on Sept. 28. Seven of her kills came in the fifth set, helping the Sea Kings hang on for a 25-18, 25-22, 23-25, 22-25, 18-16 victory in the Sailors' gym.

She can again smile when the Battle of the Bay is brought up. She's never lost the match, as the Sea Kings have now won it four straight years.

"I guess I kind of got my runner's kick there at the end," Hodson said of her strong finish. "I wasn't going to lose. I wanted three [Battle of the Bay wins] in a row. Hopefully by the end of my high school career, it will be all four in a row. I don't know. It was time to end it."

The next match for Hodson isn't in Newport Beach, but Mexico. That's where that Team USA thing comes in. Hodson is on the U.S. team for the FIVB Women's Under-23 Volleyball Championships, which begin Saturday in Mexico. Hodson said she is one of four high school girls on the team, coached by volleyball legend Karch Kiraly. Since the college women's volleyball season is currently underway, many of the players on the team are college graduates, so there is a bit of an age gap.

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